On Tuesday morning I woke up to Lola’s alarm. I had a great sleep, but it was too short. I look over and see Lola squinting into the light that is streaming through her window.
“I could go for another 4 hours of sleep,” Lola groans.
“We could skip,” I say while hugging her closer and burying my head in the pillow.
“There’s no point, I’ve got to get up and get Tomás to pre-school. Once that’s done there’s no point in skipping. Ugh, I hate mornings.” Lola says and tries to sit up.
I continue to hug her which makes it impossible for her to get up so she lays back down. “Tomás is going to come in and make us get up. Just wait.” She says with a chuckle.
As if she was psychic Tomás opens the door, runs in, and jumps on the bed- well us since we are taking up the whole bed.
“Time to get up!” He says as he crawls up to our heads.
“Cade! Cade! Lota it’s Cade!” Tomás exclaims.
“Yes, it is.” Lola yawns, “Let’s go make breakfast. You can tell Cade all about your show while we cook.” Lola says.
I remove my arms from around Lola. We all get out of bed and head to the kitchen. Lola makes coffee while I get cleaned up in the washroom. When I get back, she takes out egos and fruit. I offer to make breakfast while Lola gets ready. As I’m toasting waffles and cutting fruit Tomás tells me all about bob the builder.
Lola joins us again and we eat together. The meal is filled with talking and laughing. I could get used to mornings like these. It’s such a contrast from what I’m used to.
When we are finished up Lola packs her bag. She gives me her keys so I can put Tomás car seat in my car while she finishes her chores. When I’m about to leave to go do that I hear her mom walking down the hall.
“Really Lola, it’s way too noisy! I need to sleep. And what kind of a whore are you having a guy over on a Monday night. God, what did I raise?” Carlita Lola’s mom says.
“I’m sorry mam, I was having a hard time at home and needed-” I begin to say but I’m cut off.
“I don’t care. Just leave so I can get back to bed.” Carlita says.
“Mom, are you feeling alright, do you need to go to the doctor?” Lola asks.
“Leave me alone Lola! You’re a little whore!” At that, I pick up Tomás and take him outside. He doesn’t need to hear this.
Tomás tells me how to strap his car seat into my car. When that task is complete Lola still hasn’t come out, so I let him sit in the driver’s seat while we wait.
When I see Lola coming with a couple of bags, I clip Tomás into his seat and get in the front.
Lola gets in and I start to drive while she gives directions. When Lola comes back from walking Tomás into pre-school she addresses the incident with her mother.
“I’m sorry about that. Thanks for taking Tomás out of there.”
“It was no problem. I know what it’s like to have your parents screaming and fighting when you’re that young.” I say as I pull into the road and head towards our school.
Lola lets out a big breath and says, “She was fine last night. She gets like this before she goes manic. I’m really worried she’ll go out partying and end up going into labor too early. I wish she could take her meds. But even then, they don’t always work.”
“It’s hard to have parents who you can’t rely on,” I say.
“Yeah, I wish she’d try to help herself. I can only do so much.” Lola says defeatedly.
We arrive and school and head to class. As the day goes on Lola’s mood gets better. I hate seeing her so worried and upset and was glad that she was feeling better by the end of the day.
I drive Lola to her Abuela’s where we pick up Tomás. Then I drive them home and say goodbye. Lola asked if I wanted to stay another night, but I declined.
I needed to go home and deal with my father. Plus, I needed new clothes, I had worn these 2 days in a row.
When I arrive home, I go straight to my room. I have a shower and change. As I’m walking out of my ensuite I see my father sitting at my desk.
“Do you have anything you want to say?” He asks as I throw my dirty clothes and towel in the hamper.
“No,” I grunt.
“Well, at least you made it to school today. That’s an improvement,” he says backhandedly.
When I don’t reply he continues to talk, “now where did those allegations come from?”
“Some guys I know. They said your dealerships have parties with whores, they said most of them weren’t from America.” I say so I don’t identify Lola as the source.
“Well, I can assure you that’s false.” He says in a calm voice.
“Then why did you get so defensive and mad. If it were lies, you wouldn’t have done that.” I ask.
“God Cade why do you have to be so difficult. Your brothers aren’t like this. Why would I be involved in prostitution and human trafficking, I make more than enough money with my car dealerships. I have a wife for Christ’s sake.” he says in a loud voice.
“I don’t know man. Can I have supper now or is there more?” I ask in hopes he’ll leave.
“I’ll leave you alone, just know I’d never do anything like that. It’s ludicrous for you to even accuse me.” And with that, my dad leaves. Typical, trying to convince me I’m wrong and then leave without an actual explanation. I wish he was different. I don’t know why I was expecting something different.
The rest of the week goes by normal. Lola is the reason I show up to school. I look forward to being around her every day. It’s strange how just one person can make such a big difference.
We hung out on Saturday and got Tomás a Halloween costume. He picked out a race car driver costume. Lola and I picked out matching ones to wear when we take him trick-or-treating.
On Sunday I got a text from Lola that her mom went into labor. A few hours later she said that her baby sister Tessa-Marie was born and was healthy. Her mom wasn’t doing so well mentally though. The doctors let them go home that night, but her mom left as soon as they got there. She said that she’d probably miss a week of school until she got everything figured out.
I asked if I could do anything to help and she said to bring her homework. We decided I’d come Thursday night. Mr. Garett was really understanding of Lola’s situation and was able to get the teachers to give her less homework. Most of the stuff I was collecting was a review of each in-class lesson. Since we had so many classes together Lola asked me to help summarize the lectures when I came over. Trouble was I ended up skipping most of our classes that week. I couldn’t get myself to go knowing she wouldn’t be there. I hate school and I came to realize that Lola was the reason I had the ambition to go.
I tried going on Monday, but it was so boring and I felt like everyone kept staring at me and whispering. I left after my English class.
My dad found out I was skipping on Wednesday and yelled at me. I went to all my classes on Thursday. More so I could get caught up to help Lola though. I didn’t care how mad I made my dad anymore. He was most likely involved with what Lola said, if he weren’t he’d have an actual excuse.
I wanted to leave so I didn’t have to be around him, but I didn’t know how. I couldn’t leave my mom and Noah with him either. I was trying to think of what to do all week. I wanted my mom to get help. Maybe I could find her a program and convince my dad to let her go. She could go live somewhere and get help. But that would only solve the problem for the duration of her program. I doubted she would ever leave my father. She had stuck by him through so much already. Both my father and I had ruined her.
At the end of the school day on Thursday, I went to Mr. Garett’s office to get Lola’s homework package. I had skipped my past two sessions with him and was a bit nervous. I was hoping he’d be gone, and I could slip out fast.
As I arrived at the office, I realized I would not be so lucky. Mr. Garett was standing there talking to the secretary.
“Ah Cade, come with me and I’ll grab that package from my office.” Mr. Garett says.
I follow and take the package when he hands it to me.
“Thanks,” I mumble and try to leave.
“Actually, I was hoping we could make up our sessions for this week if that’s alright.” Mr. Garett says acting like I have a choice, which we both know I don’t.
I huff and sit down on the couch.
“Are you doing alright Cade?” He asks after closing the door.
“Yep, just fine.” I snip.
“It’s just that you’ve started skipping school and our sessions again.”
“Mhm,” I grunt.
“Cade, I want to help. If there’s anything going on I’m here.” He says hoping I’ll open up.
I raise my eyebrows at him. He huffs and asks, “can you give me an explanation as to why you’ve missed so much at least?”
“I didn’t want to be here this week,” I say.
“And why’s that?”
“Lola’s not here. I don’t like anyone else in this school and it was torture having to come here and put up with everyone.” I say angrily. I’m sick of this guy trying to prob into my life like he cares. He’s only here because he’s paid to be. Why does he have to waste my time?
“I get that, the students at this school can be rather stuck up at times. That being said you will often have to be around people you don’t like in life and not participating is not always the best way to deal with that.”
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t think I’ll ever hate anything as much as this school though.” I say.
“Well let’s look at what we can do to make it better then. First off you could take independent study classes so you’ll have a bit less time with your classmates. We could also look into extracurriculars, you may find people more like you that you haven’t met yet. Then you could like more than just Lola at this school. That way if she ever misses a day, you have someone else to hang out with.” Mr. Garett elaborates.
“I’d try independent study. I don’t think there’s anyone at the school I haven’t met though.” I say.
“Well, you can’t do independent study until next semester in most of your courses. I can look into art and Spanish; we may still be able to switch those. I’m not going to force you into an activity, but I strongly suggest you look into it.”
“Okay,” I say.
“Now I was wondering if you’ve had any thoughts about our post-secondary conversation. What would you like your life after high school to look like?”
“Well, I was talking with Lola, she suggested I work with little kids. Like an elementary school teacher or something.”
“And do you think you’d like that?”
“Yeah, I really like kids. Lola’s little brother and I get along great. I always thought it would be weird for a guy to work with little kids though.” I say honestly.
“It’s not weird at all Cade. How about I find you a place to work or volunteer with young children to see if you like it?” Mr. Garett asks.
“Ugh sure,” I reply.
“Okay, and how are things going with Lola?”
“Good, she’s great. I’ve never met someone so understanding. She just gets me. It’s really nice. I’m glad I met her; she makes my life so much better.” I say honestly starting to get a bit happier when I remember that I get to see her soon.
“I’m glad you met her too. It’s always good when we have people in our life that we get along with and are understanding. I can tell she’s made a big impact on you Cade. For the better. You seem a lot happier than you did at the start of the year.” He says back.
I nod and Mr. Garett continues, “Anyway, I think that should be good for this week unless you have anything else you want to talk about.” when I shake my head no, we say goodbye and I leave the school.
As I head to my car, I ask Lola what she and Tomás would like from McDonald’s. The whole drive to her place I have a big smile on my face.